|A 250 kWh flywheel matrix.|
The California Energy Commission, in partnership with the US Department of Energy and the California Independent System Operator (ISO), has begun the formal field trial testing of a flywheel-based frequency regulation system from Beacon Power Corporation.
Conventional approaches to frequency regulation—balancing power generation with load—vary the power output from fossil-fuel or hydro generators connected to the electric grid. The flywheel system, however, is a storage-based approach, and thus is of particular interest for use in conjunction with renewable power generation (wind, solar) where the primary power output is variable.
A flywheel energy storage system draws electrical energy from a primary source and stores it in a high-density rotating flywheel. Upon power loss, the motor driving the flywheel acts as a generator. As the flywheel continues to rotate, this generator supplies power to the customer load.
The scale-power Smart Energy Matrix demonstration system is located at a Pacific Gas & Electric substation in San Ramon, California. The field trial is the final stage of evaluation and is expected to be completed before the end of 2006. Beacon also has a system undergoing formal field testing in new York.
|Current markets for frequency regulation services. The open market is about 22% of US generation.|
Beacon plans to build megawatt-scale flywheel-based frequency regulation plants around the US and to own and operate them on an independent merchant basis, or in conjunction with partners. In 2005, the value of frequency regulation services in the open and accessible US markets was more than $600 million.
The Smart Energy Matrix is a multi-flywheel-based energy storage systems based on Beacon’s Co-mingled Rim Technology (PCRT) flywheel design. The core component of both Smart Energy Matrix systems will be 25 kWh/100 kW flywheels optimized to perform frequency regulation services.
Beacon houses sets of flywheels in a transportable shipping container that can then be aggregated nearly anywhere on the grid.
(A hat-tip to Bob!)